GP Marbella 2010, thanks the phtographer, photo from this website:
Lately I have come across an article written by Egor Kanaev, Zhenya’s brother, entitled ‘The Class of My Sister: First of the First’ (http://www.sovsport.ru/gazeta/article-item/388659). What impresses me most is that Egor wrote about Zhenya giving away her medals to the trainers and relatives as gifts. In the article, he was not merely writing about a champion’s childhood and her days at school, but through various incidents expressed an admirable character existing in their family and in each family member – love.
Zhenya’s gold medal in Beijing might be considered by many as the highest point of her RG career, but neither medal nor honour has been her motivation of being the recording breaking gymnast. Preciously, when asked in her documentary about her secret in success, she answered that it was her love for life that has made her to be who she is now: the Olympic Champion, European Champion and World Champion.
We, as Zhenya Kanaeva’s fans, have all been inspired and encouraged by her uniqueness on and off the RG carpet. We cheer for her in every competition, and she seldom disappoints us. With an increase in the number of medals won and the degree of honour achieved, she continues to surpass herself by aiming at perfection. For Zhenya, it must have been a satisfying reward in Minsk when she was given ‘10’ in the category of artistry for her hoop in the AA competition. It appears to me that her love for life has transformed the apparatus, elements, routines and all training sessions. Instead of mere sweats, tears, pains and hardships, they have become almost like sacred to Zhenya … accompanying her while she walks on this RG journey. Together, they are invincible and bringing us delight.
By the end of his article, Egor asked the viewers this question: ‘how is it possible to fall in love with a digital picture?’ Indeed, most of us who love Zhenya are people who only know about her by reading on the internet, watching her performance on TV and attending the RG competitions she participates in. Perhaps, what has brought us so closely attached to Zhenya is that we are affected by her love for life. RG was unknown to me in the pre-Kanaeva days but certainly it has come alive during this Kanaeva era – an era when love has merged together with RG technique expressed in Evgenia Kanaeva. Even though a gymnast’s light can be short-lived, Zhenya has already made her mark in history and her name will be forever remembered … because love endures.